Created By Annie Jennings PR, National Publicist  
Like JenningsWire On Facebook

RoundUp: How To Break Into The Speaking Business, Part Two!

If you dream of being center stage . . .

Inspiring, entertaining and teaching others with your talk, here are some tips to give you a roaring head start.

This article is Part Two of the JenningsWire round-up article on How To Break Into The Speaking Business, Part One where speakers, and those who work with them, give you an insider’s view on various aspects of the speaking industry.

Why not go for it? Why can’t it be you who becomes the next great speaker? It can. But it takes time. And since the next five years are going to fly by anyway, why not make them work for you? Imagine getting started today, paving the way for your big time success. It’s exciting.

The basics

Author and National Speaker, J.A. Rodriguez Jr., CEO of Make My Day Strategies LLC, tells us what you need to know to get started:

Why? Ask yourself: “Why do I want to be a speaker?” If the answer is “money”, do not give up your day job. Professional speaking is all about evoking emotion toward empowering your audience. If your impetus for standing up in front of an audience is not absolutely pure, they will detect it and you will not be asked back.

Establish credibility. Write a book, articles, blogs, have a large and absolutely positive on-line presence. Professional speaking is about being recognized as the authority on your topic.

Network, network, network. Attend conferences, meet people, say hello to everyone, even those who seem shy. Professional speaking is about trust and trust is about someone placing their reputation on the line for you and you delivering more than expected.

Deliver amazing. The key to breaking into the speaking business is assuring the meeting planner that you will make them look like a genius and then delivering on that promise. Find out what that meeting planner expects, wants and desires to the minute detail. Promise them the world, knowing you can deliver the universe and then give them more. Manage expectations at every opportunity!

Free is a marketing strategy. Speak for free at venues that offer the likelihood of further leads. No one is going to pay you without documented experience. Use these free venues to record your presentations. Place them on YouTube. The more the better. Share them on your social networks. Join forums. Document testimonials. Be the expert you say you are!

So, how do you answer these questions: “How much do you charge?” or “What are your speaking fees?” There is no easy answer to these questions but one thing is for sure. You must give the requester a price range. They are asking you because they are trying to determine if they can afford your services. This brings in the concept of value and it is up to you to sell your worth to the requester. An effective answer for a new speaker is this: “Thank you for inquiring. We work with you to stay within your budget. Our professional speaking fees normally start at (your starting fee here) and vary depending on venue, time requirements, and travel expenses. We offer powerful custom tailored deliveries on the message you want us to deliver. Here is my card. I invite you to take a look at several key-note presentations on-line. I am here to help. What are your needs?”

$5,000. Well-known speakers can usually command more than $5,000 per venue. Celebrity speakers typically command $20,000 or more.

Last but not least, be patient. Like any other business, the speaking business can be tough, competitive, and trying. Only those that possess confidence and willpower can overcome the formidable obstacles that lay ahead. Remember this: Only you can bring to fruition that which others say you cannot.

Speaker tips submitted by J. A. Rodriguez Jr., CEO & Founder, Make My Day Strategies LLC. J.A. is the author of “Not Intuitively Obvious – Transition to the Professional Work Environment”. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What does the winner of the National Speakers Association Hall Of Fame award for lifetime achievement say?

Shep Hyken has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the industry. Shep is in line to be the 2014-15 President of the National Speakers Association and shares the following:

Success starts with a website. The cost of entry into the world of professional speaking is dramatically less expensive than just a few years ago. There’s no need for a fancy brochure. To start with, you just need a decent looking website, which costs a fraction of the printed brochure. And by the way, there’s no postage on emailing a link to a website. The website must be search engine optimized. In other words, when a potential client does a Google search on a particular topic, if that’s your topic, your site might show up toward the top of the page.

A video is key to getting hired. Once the client is on the site, it’s important to have a nice video. Today, video is dramatically less expensive to film and edit than just a few years back. (There is a theme here.) The video can be a nicely edited montage of short clips, ranging from just a few seconds to several minutes. Hint: The client will probably want to see more than a ten second sound-bite, so best to include a longer clip of 3-4 minutes.

Publish a book. If you are an authority on a topic, have you written a book on your expertise? Today it is dramatically less expensive and easier than ever to publish a book. (There’s that “less expensive” theme again.) With tools like Amazon’s Create Space program, you can write a book, have it edited, hire someone to help with the cover graphics and have an e-book published in a very short time. The book is credibility for the speaking business – and may make you a few dollars along the way.

Be amazing. There is one thing that is probably most important to consider. Even with a great website, a great video and a great book, you better have a great speech.

Speaker tips submitted by Shep Hyken, a Customer Service Expert and New York Times bestselling business author. He has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the industry and is in line to be the 2014-15 president of the National Speakers Association. Please visit Shep at Hyken.comTwitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and be sure to visit Shep’s YouTube to experience him in action.

Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups, here’s why

National speaker, Tom Antion, is the author of numerous books on speaking, including The Ultimate Guide to Professional Speaking. Tom has over 3000 paid speaking engagements under his belt and shares the following tips:

Finding Speaking Events. Facebook and LinkedIn both have ‘groups’ created by organizations and companies where users can ‘follow’ or become ‘members’ of these groups. The purpose of these groups is to be a resource guide to the members and give the members the ability to network with each other via making friends or emailing. This is a great opportunity for you to leave resource links to the members and act as the expert. You can join a speakers bureau which is an organization that looks for clients needing speakers. These bureaus take a percentage of your fee, but it may be worth your while to join one while establishing yourself as a speaker.

Your website. You need to have a website which promotes you as an expert in your field who is available to hire for speaking engagements. Your website needs to have an orderly online press room, your credentials, your experience, and the absolute best way to reach you. You should also have a press kit prepared to send when requested. Your press kit should have a letter of introduction, information/profile of you and your company, and recent press releases.

Speaker tips submitted by Tom Antion, author of Ultimate Guide to Professional Speaking, Click: The Ultimate Guide to Electronic Marketing for Speakers, Top Ten Ways to Make Money Speaking and more.  Please visit Tom at Antion.com, Twitter, Facebook and find his speaker resources at The Speaker Shop.

The first thing this speaker’s bureau looks for is an active online profile

Tamara Floyd of Floyd And Associates, an Innovative Marketing Group and one of the Marketing Chairs for Houston Interactive Marketing Association (HiMA), says that her organization utilizes all types of social media and digital marketing strategies to identify their program speakers for workshops, luncheons, and conferences. Tamara shares the following tips:

This is important. As an Interactive Marketing organization, our programming committee looks for speakers with active online profiles. It’s important that our speakers cross promote HiMA events with their network, whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn.

Experience and topic. Something in particular that we look for is information about the perspective speaker’s experience and topics. We like to see what topics he or she has experience presenting on and what venues these presentations were made. A great place to add this is within your LinkedIn profile. Take advantage of including multimedia links that support your speaking experience. You can add video links, images, documents or presentations. For example, include Youtube links of your most recent speaking engagements or a link to your presentation deck on SlideShare.

Speaker tips submitted by Tamara L. Floyd, President & CEO, Floyd and Associates, an Innovative Solutions Group, Marketing Chair with HoustonIMA.org.  Please connect with HoustonIMA on Facebook and Twitter (Check out the Twitter conversation using #hima).  You also connect with Tamara at LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter on LinkedIn, & Twitter.

Don’t wait for a miracle

Dianne Morr, of Morr Creative says that the best advice for anyone who wants to speak professionally is “Don’t wait for a miracle. Own the title ‘Professional Speaker’ and start asking to be paid. I waited years and years as a Toastmaster, speaking at Rotaries and waiting to be discovered and ‘have greatness thrust upon me.’ Nothing happened until I started making cold calls asking to be hired as a speaker. Marketing calls were so much easier than I expected. I was afraid of being rudely and cruelly rejected. On the contrary, everyone I called was polite and kind. Even if they did not hire speakers, no one said, “Get lost,” “Who do you think you are,” “How dare you waste my time?” or any of the awful things I feared.

Speaker tips submitted by Author, Speaker & Ghostwriter, Dianne Morr of DianneMorr.com. Dianne is the author of Choose Happy: 25 Happiness Habits to Transform Your Life

Let potential clients see all you have to offer

Andrea Gold, President of Gold Stars Speakers Bureau, and consultant to professional speakers  has 24 years of experience.  Andrea helps people fulfill their greatest potential possible and offers these tips for emerging speakers:

The secret to success. You can be the best speaker in the world and still not hit the jackpot. The speakers who become most successful will position themselves strategically. They will possess both excellent platform skills and some form of expertise, as well as create marketing materials that clearly demonstrate their value to potential clients.

Everyone could be a speaker. An expert or author who does not offer speaking or training is missing a great opportunity. A speaker can share his or her message with a greater number of people, earn a great deal of money, experience the joy of the platform, sell products for additional income and also help people change something in their lives with that information. Put any fears or reluctance aside, and stretch yourself and explore the possibilities that professional speaking may offer in your life. Do not lurk in the shadows if you have something to share!

Speaker tips submitted by Andrea Gold. Andrea H. Gold and Gary K. Yamamoto are co-authors of The Business of Successful Speaking: Proven Secrets to Becoming a Million Dollar Speaker.  Please visit Andrea and Gary at GoldStars.com

Get a little help from a virtual friend

Administrative Consultant, Chela M. Hardy, of SpeakerAndAuthorSupport, says to use a virtual assistant to grow your speaking business.  A virtual assistant can take over some of the behind-the-scenes items on your To Do list so that you can focus on doing what you do best: motivating audiences.  Here are some of the things Chela says a virtual assistant can do to assist you:
Research/identify appropriate upcoming conferences. Finding speaking opportunities is a time-consuming (and not always fruitful) task. Rather than spend your billable hours doing this type of research, hire a Virtual Assistant to do the search for you based on the criteria you provide him or her.

Coordinate your participation in telesummit events.  Agreeing to participate in an event of this type brings with it certain responsibilities to promote the event, and any speaker who has ever participated in one knows that it usually takes a lot of back-and-forth email communication and phone calls to gather all the details that will help you make an informed decision as to whether or not it would be to your benefit to even be involved. A Virtual Assistant can take on this task and the many others that will come up should you accept the invitation to participate.

Serve as your point of contact. Not every speaker requires a lot of assistance in their practice. But there are those who would like a gatekeeper to act as a buffer between them and those who would reach out to potentially book them for a live engagement. A Virtual Assistant can be that point of contact and can carefully gather the information you need to decide whether you’re even interested in having a conversation with the caller.

Manage your LinkedIn presence.  One of the most important social media tools available to a speaker is LinkedIn, but many speakers don’t have the time to keep up with the activity on the site that could potentially lead to new business and opportunities. A Virtual Assistant can help enhance your profile, make meaningful connections on your behalf, oversee your participation in group discussions, et cetera.

The cost?  The fees for virtual assistants start at about $35 per hour and some virtual assistants have packages.

Speaker tips submitted by Chela of What’sOnYourAgenda.com.  Please visit Chela on Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube.

Networking is key to success plus having a professional appearance

Certified Professional Speakers Assistant, Kathrine Farris, is the owner of StrategicOfficeSupport.com, a virtual assistant firm that specializes in working with professional speakers. She helps speakers execute campaigns and implement strategies to grow their business.  Kathrine says that the strategies that have yielded the most success for new speakers involve personal interaction and a professional appearance.  She shares the following tips:

Pro Bono. Offering a few complimentary talks to select groups can be a great way to obtain valuable feedback and testimonials, as well as test your material. These testimonials are great content to use in promotions and help with future marketing efforts.

Marketing Campaign. Find your niche, research and organize a marketing campaign to reach out them via regular mail, email, and phone. Sending your professional press kit, following up a week later with an email, and then reaching out with a personal phone call. This can be a tough process, and you are likely to receive more rejection then acceptance, but even one new speaking arrangement could be worth it.

Networking. Use your connections to the fullest. Make sure you are getting out and talking to people, as a speaker you need to SPEAK! Attend chamber events, BNI groups, specialty groups for your niche, and social media meet-up groups. After you’ve attended an event a few times, offer to get involved with planning or registration and give a complementary sample of your signature talk.

Webinars. If you have an online following, due to a book or other business, then a Webinar or Teleconference is a great way to introduce yourself as a speaker and grow your contact list. These allow you to share your information at a very low cost, with no geographic limitations, and you have the added benefit of a recording that can be repurposed later on.

Be ready. Of course these activities require you to have a target market, get your press kit and one sheet in professional order, establish a clean and easy-to-navigate website, and have a (short) list of signature talks ready to go.

Must have resources. Here is a list of items and resources that my successful speaking clients utilize:  Website, Social Media, Press Kit, One Sheet, High Resolution Photos, Webinars, Teleconferences, Radio Show and Interviews, Newsletter, Blog.

Speaker tips submitted by Kathrine Farris, Owner and Virtual Office Manager, Strategic Office Support, a Virtual Assisting company that specializes in supporting Professional Speakers. Please visit Kathrine on Twitter, LinkedIn or at her Blog.

Round Up: How To Break Into The Speaking Business, Part Two by Annie Jennings, Creator of JenningsWire online magazine.  Here is the link to How To Break Into The Speaking Business, Part One

Note from Annie Jennings: Ok, picture your future as a patch of rich soil. Sprinkle lots of assorted seeds. Take care of each seed, consistently over time, and soon you will have a beautiful, diversified garden whose time has come to start giving back to you a hundred fold. Well, that’s what  it’s like to build an influential speaker platform. Every aspect of your platform should be growing at once until, at the end of the day, you have everything you need to be a successful speaker in demand.   I guess you could call it actively waiting. While you are waiting for your career as a speaker to take off, you are doing everything you can to make it happen.


JenningsWire.com is an online feature magazine created by National Publicist, Annie Jennings, of the PR Firm specializing in providing publicity services and book promotion to  authors, speakers and experts. Annie’s firm offers the famous pay for placement publicity program as well the powerful radio talk show campaign that comes up a guarantee of performance, bookings on big radio talk shows in major cities as well as unlimited media training.